Uta Barth.
Photographs by Uta Barth. Survey by Pamela M. Lee, interview by Matthew Higgs, text by Joan Didion and Uta Barth.
Phaidon, London, 2004. 160 pp., 120 color and 30 back-and-white illustrations, 9¾x11½".

The German-born, Los Angeles-based artist Uta Barth has successfully and effortlessly straddled the worlds of painting and photography since her time in the UCLA MFA Photography program in the late 80s/early 90s. In most of the literature on her work published in the intervening fifteen years, critics focus incorrectly on style-such as the blur present in certain of her works-or on specifically photographic tendencies and history, neither of which are of primary concern to Barth, as she herself has stated. What isof main concern to her is perception itself, regardless of medium. Subject matter is truly of secondary interest in Barth's case, which is decidedly at odds with the practice of most photographers. The image at left, nowhere near, (nw 12), 1999, from the series of the same name, reads like a primer on how notto photograph, in a traditional sense. But throughout, the way we perceive, as opposed to just what we perceive, figures prominently. Barth has stated, "The very notion of looking at work in terms of metaphor runs deeply counter to what I'm interested in. Decoding and metaphors are ways of reading and interpreting the work, rather than simply looking...I'm interested in detachment and anonymity; I'm interested in eliciting a perceptual experience." Read Publisher's Description.

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